MBA Rugby World Cup 2015

Carysfort Celts flying the Irish Flag at The MBA Rugby World Cup
Carysfort Celts flying the Irish Flag at The MBA Rugby World Cup

Last week, the MBA Rugby Team travelled to the United States to take part in the 35th Annual MBA Rugby World Cup.

Our team finished a creditable fourth out of 15 men’s teams, placing just behind Harvard’s A Team and ahead of fifth-placed Duke.Action Shot 3 - World Cup

Other teams that competed include Columbia, Yale and Stanford. An elite competition, in more ways than one. Well done to all involved!

Founded in 1999, the UCD Smurfit Rugby Football Club has grown from humble beginnings into one of the most successful business school rugby football clubs in the world.

Action Shot 2 - World Cup

On 25 September 1999, UCD Smurfit played its first ever game against the then reigning MBA World Champions, INSEAD of France. Determined to prove themselves against the best, the team attacked relentlessly and stormed home to a comprehensive 31 – 0 victory.

Buoyed on by this result, the members of the Club set themselves the goal of competing in the 2000 MBA Rugby World Championships. Achieving this required months of hard work and endeavour and, in April 2000, their efforts were rewarded. By defeating Duke University 8 – 0 in the final, the ‘Carysfort Celts’ won the Club’s first ever World Championship title.

In the years since, the Club has continuously strived to expand and improve on the efforts of its founders. This determination to succeed has resulted in the club winning the MBA Rugby World Championship on a further 11 occasions, the most recent being on April 2013.

In addition to having a successful men’s team, the Club also has a successful women’s team. In 2006, the Club won its first World Championship title.

Aside from its on-field activities, UCD Smurfit RFC is also extremely committed to assisting causes less well off than it. For the 2014/15 season, the Club has continued its partnership with World Sports Team and assisting our community through sponsorship and other fundraising events put on by the MBA Class.

Avril Donohue ~ MBA Senior Programme Coordinator

A belated report from the MBA World cup

There is no doubt that the Smurfit rugby club has been stunningly successful in this tournament over the past few years. Consistently challenging and often winning the title is a credit to the blood sweat and tears that has been spilt by each committee and successive years of players over the years. It may appear on the surface as a straightforward endeavour – get a team together, travel and play some rugby. Much like a graceful swan, however, the legs are paddling furiously under the water to ensure everything above looks to be running smoothly. This year was certainly no exception.

Competing against some of the biggest and best known business schools in the world (Harvard, Duke, Stanford, Columbia, Kellogg, Stern etc) which all have a far larger pool of students/players to choose from, a fuller fixture list during the season (they play at least one game outside of the MBA Rugby World Cup) and shorter distances to travel. It is a considerable undertaking to try and whip together an entire club inside of six months. Building a player base, raising funds to take at least 20 people to the USA for a weekend in April and designing a whole range of kit requires a lot of work. All amongst the not small undertaking of the Full Time MBA course.

Continue reading A belated report from the MBA World cup

UCD Smurfit Rugby Club Fundraising Dinner

Former Minister Dick Spring Speaking at the Event

Last Friday night, February 7th, saw the Pillar Room in the Rotunda Hospital come alive for the UCD Smurfit Rugby Football Club Fundraising Dinner and Auction. This event was hosted by the organising committee of the Club from the full-time MBA class of 2013/14. Former Minister Dick Spring and Kingsley Aikens, formerly of the Ireland Funds, were special guests at the event and provided insightful and extremely entertaining accounts of their memories and experiences in the Rugby arena. Minister Michael Noonan was also in attendance to support the event along with MBA Alumni and friends of the MBA.

A great night was had by all and valuable funds have been raised for the 34th Annual MBA Rugby World Cup Championship which will take place in Danville VA from April 11th – 13th 2014. A group of our MBA students will aim to defend the title for the 12th time! Watch this space!

Organising Committee
Former Minister Dick Spring (L) & Kingsley Aikens (C-R) with MBA students, Jim Radmore (C-L) & Michael Noonan (R)

Pressure is a Privilege

So the 6 Nations Championship is upon us. For the majority of rugby fans in this part of the world, it is a fascinating and gruelling six weeks of international rugby. For those lucky few who take part in the tournament and represent their families, counties, provinces and countries, it is both physically and mentally draining. During the build up to this year’s tournament, I came upon a phrase that has been recycled from the former tennis champion, Billie Jean King. Pressure is a privilege. In a sports context this is quite an easy, logical progression. The privilege to represent your country obviously comes with significant pressure. If it’s ever forgotten by an international sports person, it is a privilege that those around them will quickly remind the athlete of. At this stage, it may seem odd as to what, if anything, this has to do with the journey through an MBA. If the reader is considering this, I strongly suggest a brief reflection on what ‘pressure is privilege’ means to you.

It is easy to get wrapped up in the bubble of completing an MBA. All the assignments, leadership development, careers and networking events can very quickly distort the wider picture and impact personal motivation. The privilege of being amongst a small band of individuals going through this journey comes with pressure. Being successful in our future careers and achieving everything we want to achieve will be a privilege. It will bring with it significant pressure. In order to reach the heights we are being prepared for throughout the course, we have to prove competence under pressure. This connection can be forgotten during the long and dark winter months as we slog through another case study or number crunching exercise.

Pressure in business should not be lonesome. At every stage there will be the support of highly talented teammates. In the sporting context, pulling everyone together onto the same page and pulling for the same cause, taking on the same pressure, is critical to success. The Smurfit MBA provides fertile ground for the individual to acquire the tools with which to succeed in this way. The focus on teamwork, pulling disparate styles and philosophies together and communicating at every stage is very similar to putting together a strong performance on the rugby pitch. Business can take a lot of the successes from sportspeople and learn significantly from them. ‘Pressure is Privilege’ should be just the beginning.

James Radmore – MBA Rugby Captain

FTMBA 2014

United Kingdom

The road less travelled – giving rugby a shot.

“Please tell me you are not playing rugby but only helping out with the equipment department!” – Timothy Downs

The above quote comes courtesy of my brother in response to telling him I signed up for the UCD Smurfit Rugby Football Club. A little background info for the readers: I’m 5’8” and weigh 145 lbs soaking wet (that’s 65 kg for you Continentals). I’ve never been much of an athlete either. And sure, trying rugby for the first time is a bit out of my comfort zone but that’s kind of the point. It’s kind of the point of doing this whole UCD Smurfit MBA thing too.

I could have followed an easy path and continued working at my old job. But I didn’t want to keep living my life on autopilot. Everyday was basically the same: routine, static.  At times to spur growth you need make a drastic change to the status quo. And if I can jolt myself out of my comfortable routine I suppose I should keep that theme going throughout the rest of the year.

So, I’ll give rugby a shot. Sure, I may get knocked down and banged up on the pitch but that’s okay. Now is the time to try new things. If it doesn’t work out at least I can say I tried. So long as I finish my UCD Smurfit MBA with the same number of teeth that I started with, I’ll mark it up as a successful year.

Tony Downs,

FTMBA 2014.

UCD Smurfit MBA Rugby Defence is Up & Running for 2014.

There is a quote I often like to fall back on and whilst it originates from the sporting world, it is pertinent across all aspects of teamwork.  It comes from the man who is revered in NFL circles (especially those from Green Bay) – Vince Lombardi.  

One of the greatest sports coaches of all time, he  said ‘The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand’. Given that the UCD Smurfit rugby club is focused less on playing rugby and more on ensuring there is an opportunity to play the sport, this is apt.  With the not inconsiderable task of putting together a squad and ensuring we have the funds to travel to the US to defend the MBA Rugby World Cup, our small, dedicated and hard working committee has hit the fundraising road as early as possible.

On Tuesday 29th October, UCD Smurfit Rugby FC held what is hoped will be the first of many table quizzes in the Dark Horse on Carysfort Avenue. Whilst some of the question rounds proved trickier than hoped (maybe the rugby questions should’ve been easier…), the pub was buzzing with arguments about the second largest city in the EU, what the highest selling album of all time was and what is that obscure country that begins with a ‘D’.  With the division of labour across the committee and the opportunity to drive additional fundraising through selling questions and phone use, the rugby club committee was kept busy. With the kind support of the Dark Horse (MBA students can make time for the pub), it is hoped that there will be many more table quizzes during the year.

It was great to see some of our predecessors and other members of last year class come out and support this first event – we hope to see them more often! With all funds going towards ensuring that the club can attempt to defend the MBA Rugby World Cup in April, every little bit certainly does count.

With the hard work, dedication and determination shown at getting this first fundraiser put together and executed, there is no doubt that the UCD Smurfit rugby club will make a success of the task at hand.  With ongoing support from family and friends and growing interest in the club, future quizzes will promise to be even more competitive, so get your thinking caps on!

Keep an eye on the club’s website:

facebook page:

and twitter @ucdsmurfitrugby for news of the next event.

Jim Radmore, UCD Smurfit Rugby Football Club Chair 2013-14.

FT MBA 2014.

MBA World Champions

As the captain of the ladies team, I was delighted with our ladies performance given it was our first true test together, we unfortunately did not bring the cup home but the men’s team did that for us. Yet again they are the MBA Rugby World Champions!

We had quite an eventful trip with delayed flights on the way out and bombings in Boston on our way home, but I have to say we had an amazing weekend.

We had 44 athletes travel with an excellent committee to keep the show on the road. Everywhere we went everyone was so accommodating and welcoming. They loved the Irish brogue and the high spirits of the team. We had the opportunity to mingle with London Business School, Harvard, Wharton, Columbia to name a few.

It was a great opportunity to meet like minded people and network with the local business networks in the area. We hope to bring LBS ladies team over for a test match all going well in the Summer!

Our bus driver, Curly, deserves a special mention for being so accommodating with such a large crew and we hope future teams will enjoy his kind manner!

We left Ireland as individuals but we have come home a team. The effort was worth it in the end and would highly recommend any future MBA students to get on the team and join the adventure! Congratulations, MBA World Champions 2013!

Michelle Mulcahy

– Michelle Mulcahy, FT MBA 2012-13

The time has come

(Day 1)

After many months of fundraising, training, organising and a day of flight delays we have finallyarrived at the annual MBA Rugby World Cup tournament in Danville, North Carolina, USA to defendour title as Rugby World Cup Champions for a record 11th time!

This year we have brought 48 people consisting of 47 players and 1 coach. This is the largest numberof players who have ever represented the school at the tournament! This is testament to the hardwork of the leadership team and the players themselves in raising sufficient funds to make thishappen.
On the 2 hour bus transfer from the airport to the hotel everyone was in very high spirits with plentyof singing to keep us entertained. While I listened, I was thinking that if some of the player’s rugbyskills were as poor as their singing, we were going to be in trouble!

I was proved wrong yesterday.

The men’s team ended day one undefeated after 3 matches.

  • Game 1 Smurfit vs. London Business School (B team). Score 57 – 0
  • Game 2 Smurfit vs. Harvard Business School (B team). Score 35 – 5
  • Game 3 Smurfit vs. London Business School (B team). Score 60 – 0

The ladies team also put in a fantastic performance against some very tough opposition and are nowplaced 7th in the tournament!

The weather is extremely hot so we have had to make many trips to Walmart to stock up on water,Gatorade and fruit to keep our troops hydrated and nourished!

We are getting ready for day two and hopefully we will be booking an extra seat on the plane to bring home the silverware!

– Therese O’Rourke, FT MBA 2012-13

…And off they go!

It is that time of the year again where the Smurfit Rugby Club is off to defend its title in the MBA Rugby World Cup.  The teams -one men’s and one women’s- left Dublin for North Carolina this morning after a few hectic months of training, organisation and fundraising.  In anticipation of an update from the Rugby Club, here’s a recap of how they got on last year. Also check out their Facebook Group page!


– Rikke Budolfsen, MBA Programme Manager

Smurfit Rugby Club

UCD Smurfit Rugby Team has brought home the MBA World Cup Trophy for 10 out of 11 years – well, the men’s team has. This year will be the second year in a row that the MBA program will also send a women’s team to the USA for the world cup, a feat that has only happened a handful of times before. As an American in Ireland, I had never even really watched rugby on the television let alone played a match in my life. And yet here I am, six months later, heading up the UCD Women’s Rugby Team (with a good friend, also a Smurfit MBA, who has extensive rugby experience). This year, we have one goal, which is to bring home a MBA Rugby World Cup, not only for the Men, but for the Women’s team also, which would be a first for Smurfit!

When asked to write an entry for our MBA Blog, it took me quite a while to come up with an experience to write about. Everything has happened so fast and intensely that it was a little overwhelming to come up with something to write about, since there seems to be so much going on in my head at one time! However, since Rugby has lately taken over my Tuesday and Friday nights, along with my Saturday and Sunday afternoons (we will call Saturdays and Sundays as studying up on the sport of Rugby by watching the “professionals” play in the 6 Nations).

Upon starting the MBA, the different representatives of all the MBA clubs (there are a lot of them) were paraded in front of us, where they told us about the opportunities offered by the different interest areas. Of course, when the Rugby Club came up, ears perked up, mainly because Smurfit has been the team to not only compete, but win the championship cup for so many years. Of course, it’s “great craic” as our friendly speaker insisted, but he also talked about the opportunities it opened as far as networking with other top MBA programs and the friendships and camaraderie you get as being part of an athletic team with other Masters students in the Smurfit School of Business.

Today, about one month away from our trip to the states, I can say that my experience has not been a disappointment!  I have met great guys and girls while participating on the team, and have also been able to achieve another of my personal goals in coming to Ireland, which was to learn more about a different culture, and learning about rugby (not only how to watch, but how to play) has given me an experience in Ireland. I am happy (albeit surprised) to say that I am the only non-Irish person on the women’s team (our coach playfully refers to me as the American rugby spy), and being a member of this team has given me a deeper and more real look into a pastime that is very important in the country. Almost like someone learning and getting understand the teams and the game of American Football if they go to the states. In class, I learn about business in both Ireland and other areas of the world (from an Irish perspective), and from my classmates I learn about the social norms of Ireland and Irish culture, but never can you truly be immersed in the culture until you take it on yourself to truly become involved in something that is of that country, outside of the contrived state of the classroom. I think I have done that with not only joining the Smurfit Rugby Club, but in being part of its leadership committee. I can’t wait until where the next month takes us as a team, and me individually, but I look forward to it and can’t wait to write a second entry in one month’s time detailing how we won!!

Heidi Hart

– Heidi Hart, FT MBA 12/13